O2 in Positive Customer Service Shock?

O2, the UK Telefonica brand and soon-to-be-loosing-the-iPhone-exclusivity-to-just-about-anyone mobile operator, have a reputation which is, to be honest, just a little bit crap. Their coverage in the rural wilds of Central London, especially around Soho and Covent Garden, seems to be scaled for a single user and a web searchfor "o2 customer service problems" throws up such gems as "O2 customer service consists of PAY UP OR ELSE" and "O2's customer service has to be the poorest I have ever come across".

So we'll leave aside for one moment the fact that I have to pay an additional £20.00 for a measly 10MB of data when abroad via O2's Data Abroad 10 bolt on and accept that I ordered this to be added to my account so I could use data on my iPhone when in the US for this week's Open Hack NYC. The first mailed response from O2 didn't inspire confidence.

"Hi, Thanks for getting in touch. We'll look into your query and get back to you as quickly as we can, normally within 24 hours."

So I waited and less than 24 hours later I got this*

"Good Morning Gary. Thanks for emailing us about adding the 10Mb Data Roaming Bolt On to your account.

Gary, you'll be pleased to know that I've added the 10Mb Data Roaming Bolt On to your account effective from your next bill onwards (10 October 2009).  You'll be charged £17.02 excluding VAT (Value Added Tax) per month for this Bolt On. If you want to add the above Bolt On on a different date, please reply to this email and we'll help you further."

Data roaming on; WIN.

Data roaming on from the date of my next bill and after the event in New York; FAIL.

So I asked them, nicely.

"I'm having to travel at very short notice so I really need this up and running from my first day out of the country which is this Wednesday, October 7th. Can the bolt on start date be brought forward to this day?"

That automated reply came back again

"Hi, Thanks for getting in touch. We'll look into your query and get back to you as quickly as we can, normally within 24 hours."

I'd expected a cut-and-paste response that they could only start services such as this on the first day of a new monthly bill, which basically means minimal work for them and maximum inconvenience for the customer. Then this morning I got this, which was emphatically not what I was expecting.

"Good Evening Gary. Thanks for emailing us as you want to pre-phone your Bolt On start date. I've pre phoned your Bolt On start date to 07 October 2009 as requested by you. Important - When you email us please provide: your date of birth, postcode and mobile number as it helps us answer your query faster"

So fair play to you O2; I'm not entirely sure what pre-phoning is and a bit surprised that you expect me to provide personal data including my date of birth and postal code in every email, but I went into this dialogue with you with zero expectation of success and you pleasantly surprised me.

Now if we can just fix that "No Service" in Central London ...

Posted via email from Gary's Posterous

Gary Gale

I'm Gary ... a Husband, Father, CTO at Kamma, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user